27 June 2015

BSG Review: The Magnificent Warriors & The Young Lords

Galactica continues to lead the rag-tag fleet of colonial survivors through space in search for Earth as complications continue to mount from Cylon attack.
The Magnificent Warriors

When the fleet's agriculture ships are attacked and destroyed or damaged with the entire supply of seed depleted, Adama must find a way to replenish their supplies. A nearby planet may hold the key.

This is another episode with another familiar planet to recent outings. It's also the episode probably best known for Siress Belloby trying to court Adama throughout and accompanying him on the mission. A silly premise alongside another away mission where Boxey and Muffit tag along for no apparent reason.

Starbuck finds himself caught up in some of the politics of the towns-folk who are under constant threat by a pig-like race called the Boray. Belloby is captured, Adama is less than successful in negotiating her release and Starbuck hatches a plan to release himself from the responsibilities of sheriff which he obtained.

Overall a very dull episode as it's much the same as The Lost Warrior and The Long Patrol. I have to say I switched off while watching it and the Siress scenes didn't really help lift the interest even for their comedic value!

Rating: 4/10
The Young Lords 

Starbuck crash lands on a planet (again) and finds himself with a team of young warriors in a fight against the Cylons.

The group of young humans led by Kyle and Miri who have been fighting the Cylons on their planet, Attila since they slaughtered the rest of the inhabitants, captured their father and setup a base.

The Cylon garrison are under the command of Specter, an older, inferior version of Lucifer who reports to Baltar. Specter sends inaccurate and deceiving reports to Baltar about the progress of exterminating the humans on Attila, but Baltar is impressed by these lies while Lucifer remains suspicious.

Starbuck is to be traded for Kyle and Miri's father in a prisoner exchange but it goes wrong. Thankfully the deception worked both ways and Starbuck leads the children to attack the Cylon garrison and free their father.

This is another 'night' episode in the series but not as repetitive as some we have recently seen. The colonials would have to be wondering how many human colonies are actually out here as they seem to keep running in to them on their search for Earth, and just how far does the reach of the Cylon Empire actually extend? For that matter, why is Baltar so hellbent on pursuing the Galactica and fleet when there are abundant human colonies everywhere?

Rating: 6/10

18 June 2015

BSG Review: The Gun on Ice Planet Zero (Parts I & II)

The Galactica and fleet are being herded by the Cylon's towards a specific planet, Arcta which possesses a powerful and deadly weapon capable of destroying them all. A team of Colonial warriors and specialists is sent to the surface in order to destroy the weapon and allow the fleet to pass.

A small recon patrol with Starbuck, Boomer and three cadets is investigating a planetoid when they come under attack. Two of the cadets are lost while the third crash lands on the surface. Reluctantly, Starbuck and Boomer return to Galactica.

Adama determines that a team of specialists should destroy the laser on the planet surface or the fleet will face destruction. Their computers put together a list of people who come from the fleet's prison barge.

Of course the team doesn't gel too well with prisoners and warriors together, but they head to the surface where Apollo, leading the mission discovers Boxey and Muffit have snuck on board. During a storm the group are taken in by humanoid clones who call themselves Theta-class lifeforms. They agree to assist the team and take them to one of their villages - not before encountering a Cylon patrol.
As discussed on the Battlestar Wiki, it's hard to think a fleet in space could be herded in any particular direction unless the Cylon's were closing in on a three-dimensional path! But it helps the story. You would also have to wonder about the security measures in place (or not) in the shuttle hangar that would allow Boxey to sneak aboard without anyone noticing - so far, his presence on the shuttle hasn't added anything to the storyline either except putting himself and the team in more danger!

Rating for Part I: 6/10

Evading the Cylon patrol, the Colonial team reach the Theta underground city where Apollo meets the creator of the deadly pulsar weapon threatening the fleet.

Baltar and his baseships close in on the Galactica forcing the fleet to move closer to the planet where the weapon is located. It's up to the ground team to do their part - with some of the prisoners looking for escape and freedom.

The 'gripping' conclusion sees the problems the ground team faces as the criminals among them look out for their own interests. Baltar's fleet pushes the Galactica nearly within striking range of the pulsar weapon and it ends in what would have been a climactic sequence for the time.

Ultimately everything works out and Baltar is outplayed once again with the fleet continuing their search for Earth.

Rating for Part II: 6/10

10 June 2015

BSG Review: The Lost Warrior & The Long Patrol

Apollo finds himself stranded on a remote planet, taken in by villagers run by a crook with a Cylon bodyguard before Starbuck gets caught up in another planet's political uprising.

The Lost Warrior
While trying to lead Cylon Raiders away from Galactica and the fleet, Apollo ends up making an emergency landing on a remote planet. He finds a family there who are apprehensive at first but agree to help him out.

Apollo discovers the people in the area he landed are being oppressed by a Cylon 'sherriff' riding a horse, who is actually controlled by a thug named Lacerta. Only through a test of who can draw their gun the quickest is Apollo able to defeat the Cylon, Red Eye, removing Lacerta's control over the town.

While this is an Apollo episode it bears no real consequence on the events for Galactica and the fleet. Viewers could easily skip this episode and the storyline would remain largely unaffected. The episode itself is okay but feels like it plays out a few scenes too long.

Rating: 5/10

The Long Patrol
Starbuck takes a new recon Viper to investigate a new solar system as the fleet leaves their known space. He comes across a lost colony and is imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit after his Viper is stolen.

This Starbuck episode provides some clues as to the whereabouts of Earth towards the end. The rest of the story is encapsulated and rounded up by the end credits.

We see more of Starbuck's romances with Athena and Cassiopeia - dining both of them at the same time before his mission, and his entrepreneur skills at work attempting to return to the fleet with ambrosa to make him rich.

This episode is slightly more interesting and action oriented than the previous one.

Rating: 6/10

02 June 2015

B5 Review: The Legend of the Rangers

In a would-be start up for a new series, The Legend of the Rangers introduces us to a new crew, on an old ship discovering a new (but very old) foe...

To Live and Die in Starlight
David Martell is punished by the Grey Council after retreating from combat during a Ranger mission outnumbered against Raiders. His hopes for promotion to Captain the new Valen are instantly dashed, but he is given command of a different ship instead, the Liandra. He reunites with his former crew on a 'milk run' escorting the Valen, carrying important ambassadors from various worlds to an unknown planet.

Upon arrival, the Valen is attacked by an unknown force and the Liandra takes on the survivors and forced into a game of cat and mouse against a superior enemy. The resourcefulness of the crew and a little help from G'kar afford them a safe return home.

The idea behind this pilot movie isn't a bad one. A new adventure in the Babylon 5 universe with new characters has potential - just like Crusade! The new characters take some getting used to, but that would happen over the course of character development episodes if the series eventuated no doubt. As I'm sure some answers about the ghosts in the Liandra would eventually come about.

The new foe, The Hand (Hand of God?) appeared to me to be a little similar to the Shadows from the main series. They influenced younger races with their power and their ships are spindly looking - no doubt they would be much different but they also don't really appear to be that sinister or menacing in this episode. Sure, they can take out a ship rather easily, in what is probably one of the more pitiful battle sequences of the series, but JMS did explain the reasoning behind that particular scene. Perhaps the ships we see from The Hand are merely advance scouts and there's more where they came from but it's hard not to think the Whitestar fleet would have made light work of The Hand, being larger and more powerful than the Liandra.

The weapons systems aboard the Liandra provide another talking point and while a visual spectacle for 2002, just seem really inefficient, regardless of Ranger training and resilience and it did look a little silly at times. What happens when the weapons officer gets tired?

The new effects look great compared to the B5 series, even with some errors (ships flying backwards) and even Christopher Franke's music had a new sound and feel to it. It would have been interesting to see this series develop but it does feel a bit of a side-step to the main stories JMS would have wanted to tell. The 5 year arc had concluded but the stories of interest lie with Crusade and the Drakh War, or the Telepath War mentioned by Delenn in her monologue at the end of Rising Star.

It's not terrible, but somewhat forgettable and doesn't really add or remove anything from the continuity unfortunately.

Rating: 5/10